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Death toll from Tennessee wildfires climbs to 10 -mayor

The official death toll from wildfires in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee rose to 10 on Thursday, up from seven deaths reported a day earlier, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said. (USA-FIRES/TENNESSEE, moved at 4:43 p.m., 69 words)


Trump warns of consequences for U.S. firms sending jobs abroad

INDIANAPOLIS - President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday warned that U.S. companies will face "consequences" for outsourcing jobs overseas, as he touted his early success in persuading an air conditioner maker to keep around 1,000 jobs in the United States rather than move them to Mexico.(USA-TRUMP/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC), moved at 4:08 p.m., by Emily Stephenson, 896 words) See also: (USA-TRUMP/MANUFACTURING (PIX, GRAPHICS), moved at 2:09 p.m., by Nick Carey and Andy Sullivan, 625 words)

Grim Hollande says he won't seek second term as French president

PARIS - President Francois Hollande shocked France on Thursday by announcing he would not seek a second term next year, acknowledging his deep unpopularity and making way for another leftist candidate to take on conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen. (FRANCE-ELECTION/HOLLANDE (UPDATE 7, PIX, TV), moved, by Ingrid Melander, 765 words) See also: Unpopular Hollande doomed by failure of jobs promise (FRANCE-ELECTION/HOLLANDE (NEWSMAKER), moved, 778 words)

U.S. veterans arriving at pipeline protest camp in North Dakota

CANNON BALL/WEST FARGO - U.S. military veterans were arriving on Thursday at a camp to join thousands of activists braving snow and freezing temperatures to protest a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota. (NORTH DAKOTA-PIPELINE/ (UPDATE 3, PIX), moved at 4:10 p.m., by Terray Sylvester and Alicia Underlee Nelson, 715 words)

Extension of Iran Sanctions Act passes U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed a 10-year extension of sanctions against Iran on Thursday, sending the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law and delaying any potentially tougher actions until next year. (IRAN-NUCLEAR/USA-SANCTIONS (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 3:26 p.m., by Patricia Zengerle, 390 words)


Mattis reported named for Pentagon but Trump team denies

WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will nominate retired General James Mattis to lead the Pentagon, two media outlets reported on Thursday, but a Trump spokesman said no decision had been made. (USA-TRUMP/DEFENSE (UPDATE 2), moved, 303 words)

Trump packs transition team with Washington veterans, review shows

WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump, who pledged on the campaign trail to "drain the swamp" in Washington, is staffing his on-the-ground transition teams mostly with government veterans, including ex-lobbyists, a Reuters review of publicly available information shows. (USA-TRUMP/TEAMS, moved at 2:47 p.m., by Emily Stephenson and Dustin Volz, 545 words)

Trump considering Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota for Cabinet -source

HOUSTON - President-elect Donald Trump is considering Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota for either the interior or energy secretary positions in his Cabinet, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. (USA-TRUMP/HEITKAMP (UPDATE 2), moved at 5:13 p.m., by Ernest Scheyder, 391 words)


Obama, trying to protect legacy, unlikely to act on Mideast peace

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama, keen to preserve his legacy on domestic health care and the Iran nuclear deal, is not expected to make major moves on Israeli-Palestinian peace before leaving office, U.S. officials said on Thursday. (ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/USA, moved at 2:42 p.m., by Arshad Mohammed and Matt Spetalnick, 508 words)

New Jersey's Christie mulls run to lead Republican Party - report

WASHINGTON - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an early supporter of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, is considering a run to lead the Republican National Committee, Politico reported on Thursday. (USA-POLITICS/CHRISTIE (PIX, TV, GRAPHIC), moved at 2:14 p.m., 256 words)


Head injuries climb after Michigan repeals helmet law

After Michigan repealed its helmet law, motorcycle riders who crashed there were 24 percent less likely to be wearing protective head gear and 14 percent more likely to suffer a head injury, a new study found. (HEALTH-MOTORCYCLES/HELMETS, moved at 2:31 p.m., by Ronnie Cohen, 694 words)

Engineer in fatal 2013 New York train crash sues railroad

NEW YORK - The engineer who fell asleep at the controls of a New York commuter train that derailed in 2013, killing four people and injuring 61, has sued the railroad, alleging it was negligent in failing to install an automatic braking system. (NEW YORK-TRAIN/, moved at 4:06 p.m., by David Ingram, 401 words)

California governor taps U.S. Rep. Becerra as attorney general

SACRAMENTO - California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday nominated U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a longtime representative from Los Angeles, to be the state's next attorney general. (CALIFORNIA-ATTORNEY GENERAL/BECERRA (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved at 2:16 p.m., by Sharon Bernstein, 377 words)

Three killed as pickup truck crashes into Walmart store in Iowa

Three people were killed and two injured on Thursday when a pickup truck crashed through the front of a Wal-Mart store in central Iowa, a state police spokesman said.(IOWA-CRASH/, moved at 4:40 p.m., 139 words)

A year after San Bernardino attack, investigators still seek answers

LOS ANGELES - One year after two Islamic militants shot dead 14 people in a massacre in Southern California, FBI investigators are still seeking to answer key questions such as the location of the married couple's computer hard drive and whether anyone helped them, an official said. (CALIFORNIA-SHOOTING/ANNIVERSARY, moved at 4:41 p.m., by Alex Dobuzinskis, 419 words)

Spike in Yellowstone grizzly deaths tied to conflicts with humans

SALMON - U.S. wildlife managers at Yellowstone National Park are reporting an unusually high number of grizzly bear deaths, 55, linked to humans this year in a trend believed tied to a growing number of the bruins harming livestock or challenging hunters over freshly killed game. (YELLOWSTONE-BEARS/ (PIX), moved at 3:42 p.m., by Laura Zuckerman, 382 words)

Illinois governor vetoes money for Chicago school pensions

CHICAGO - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed on Thursday a bill to give the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) a one-time $215 million state payment to help cover the district's escalating pension costs. (CHICAGO-EDUCATION/PENSIONS (UPDATE 1), moved at 3:02, 354 words)

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin medically evacuated from South Pole

Buzz Aldrin, the former U.S. astronaut and the second person to walk on the moon, was in stable condition after being evacuated from the South Pole to a New Zealand hospital because of a medical problem, a U.S. agency and his tour company said. (PEOPLE-BUZZ ALDRIN/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 1:48 p.m., by David Ingram, 231 words)

Chicago murders top 700 for first time in nearly two decades

CHICAGO - Murders in Chicago have already topped 700 this year, police said on Thursday, as a surge in violence in the third largest U.S. city has sent the number of killings to its highest point in nearly two decades. (CHICAGO-MURDER/, moving shortly, by Timothy Mclaughlin and Renita D. Young, 342 words)

Connecticut's top court to hear Sandy Hook gun appeal directly

The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to hear a direct appeal by families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, whose lawsuit against makers and sellers of the assault rifle used in the 2012 attack was dismissed in October. (CONNECTICUT-SHOOTING/ (PIX), moving shortly, by Jonathan Stempel, 344 words)

South Carolina jury weighs case against ex-cop who killed motorist

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Jurors deliberated a murder charge on Thursday against a white former South Carolina police officer accused of shooting and killing a fleeing black motorist last year, and activists vowed to protest if they disagreed with the verdict. (SOUTH CAROLINA-SHOOTING/SLAGER (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved, 390 words)


Large crowds for Castro's ashes after symbolic Che Guevara reunion

SANTA CLARA - Thousands of people greeted Fidel Castro's funeral cortege on its journey across Cuba on Thursday after a symbolic overnight reunion at the mausoleum in Santa Clara housing the bones of fellow revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. (CUBA-CASTRO/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), moved at 4:13 p.m., by Diego Oré and Sarah Marsh, 383 words)

Mexico's Slim: If Trump succeeds, so does Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said on Thursday that if President-elect Donald Trump succeeds in office, it will be good news for Mexico, and that he would be more worried as an American than a Mexican about the next U.S. government. (MEXICO-SLIM/ (UPDATE 2), moved at 3:20 p.m., by Christine Murray, 393 words)

No fuel on board: One of the rarest types of plane crash

PARIS - Colombian officials probing Monday's crash that killed 71 people including most of a Brazilian soccer team face one of the rarest types of accidents and perhaps one of the hardest for families to comprehend, amid reports that the airplane had run out of fuel. (COLOMBIA-CRASH/FUEL (PIX), moved at 2:50 p.m., by Tim Hepher, 608 words) See also: (COLOMBIA-CRASH/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), moved at 3:39 p.m., by Daniel Ramos and Fredy Builes, 778 words)

Bolivia suspends airline as Colombian crash probe points to lack of fuel

LA PAZ/MEDELLIN - Bolivian authorities on Thursday suspended the license of a tiny charter airline whose plane crashed in Colombia this week after apparently running out of fuel, killing 71 people and wiping out a Brazilian soccer team on its way to a regional cup final. (COLOMBIA-CRASH/ (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved at 4:30 p.m., by Daniel Ramos and Fredy Builes, 790 words)


Russian cargo ship destroyed after launch for Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL - An unmanned Russian cargo ship loaded with more than 2-1/2 tons of food and supplies for the International Space Station broke apart about six minutes after liftoff on Thursday, Russia's space agency Roscosmos said in a statement. (SPACE-STATION/PROGRESS (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved at 2:33 p.m., by Irene Klotz, 282 words)

Vegetarian and vegan diets good for kids and adults, nutritionists say

Plant-based diets are tied to a lower risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers - and pretty much anyone can eat this way, according to a leading group of nutritionists. (HEALTH-NUTRITION/VEGETARIAN-VEGAN, moved at 3:52 p.m., by Lisa Rapaport, 612 words)

Parents often give kids time-out the wrong way

Most parents who use time-outs to discipline their kids don't do it in ways that can encourage better behavior, a recent U.S. study suggests. (HEALTH-TIMEOUTS/CHILDREN-DISCIPLINE, moved at 2:19 p.m., by Lisa Rapaport, 598 words)


'La La Land' leads Critics Choice, wins over New York film critics

LOS ANGELES - "La La Land," a modern-day musical love story of two struggling artists in Los Angeles, cemented its Hollywood awards season front-runner status on Thursday by simultaneously leading the nominees for Critics' Choice Awards and being named best picture by New York film critics. (AWARDS-CRITICSCHOICE/ (PIX, TV), moved at 2:06 p.m., by Piya Sinha-Roy, 368 words)


S&P, Nasdaq dragged lower by tech; Dow hits record close

NEW YORK - A sharp decline in technology stocks pulled both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 indexes into the red on Thursday, while the Dow managed to notch a record closing high with a lift from bank and energy shares. (USA-STOCKS/ (UPDATE 6), last updated at 4:17 p.m., by Chuck Mikolajczak, 524 words)

U.S. factory activity at five-month high, bottlenecks emerging

WASHINGTON - U.S. factory activity accelerated to a five-month high in November amid a pickup in new orders and production, suggesting the manufacturing sector was regaining its footing after a prolonged slump.(USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 3), moved at 1:08 p.m., by Lucia Mutikani, 781 words)

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to step down

Starbucks Corp said Howard Schultz will be stepping aside as chief executive officer of the company, to focus on its high-end coffee shops as executive chairman. (STARBUCKS-MOVES/ (UPDATE 1), moved at 4:33 p.m., 100 words)

Oil soars, Brent hits 16-mth high after OPEC output deal

NEW YORK - Oil prices surged 4 percent on Thursday, with Brent crude at its highest in about 16 months, extending gains after OPEC and Russia agreed to restrict output to reduce the global supply glut more quickly. (GLOBAL-OIL/ (UPDATE 12, GRAPHIC), moved at 3:01 p.m., by Devika Krishna Kumar, 579 words)

Pharma execs weigh in on possible changes under Trump

The top executives at two of the largest U.S. drugmakers weighed in on Thursday for the first time on possible changes for the industry next year under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. (ALLERGAN-CEO/TRUMP (UPDATE 1), moved at 3:56 p.m., by Ransdell Pierson, 356 words)

Delta pilots get 30 percent raise by 2019 in new contract

MONTREAL/NEW YORK - Delta Air Lines Inc pilots on Thursday agreed to a new contract that delivers a 30 percent pay raise by 2019, as the aviation industry deals with mounting demand for higher wages to fly planes at a time of big profits. (DELTA AIR-UNION/CONTRACT (UPDATE 2), moved at 2:45 p.m., by Allison Lampert and Jeffrey Dastin, 677 words)

Indiana agrees $7 mln tax break to keep Carrier jobs in state -company

WASHINGTON - Indiana state officials have agreed to give United Technologies Corp $7 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years to encourage the company to keep about 1,100 jobs at its Carrier unit in Indianapolis, Carrier said on Thursday. (USA-TRUMP/UTC (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved at 3:09 p.m., by David Shepardson, 442 words)


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